School board opts for minimal boundary changes |

School board opts for minimal boundary changes

In-town Glenwood Springs elementary school attendance boundaries will remain largely the same under a plan adopted by the Roaring Fork School District board Monday in preparation for the opening of the new preK-8 Eastbank school next year.

The board opted for a plan that minimizes boundary changes for Sopris and Glenwood Springs elementary schools, while establishing an attendance area for the new school that will serve population centers south of Glenwood along the Colorado 82 corridor.

The yet-to-be-named new school located across the Roaring Fork River from the Ironbridge and Westbank subdivisions is part of the $122 million bond issue approved by voters last year. It is slated to open for the 2017-18 school year.

Under the plan, there would be some latitude for parents to continue to send their students to the school they are currently attending, and in-town students or even those from other communities in the district could choice into the new school.

“We do anticipate room for choice at all of our schools,” Rob Stein, superintendent of Roaring Fork Schools, said at a special school board meeting in Glenwood Springs Monday. He added, however, that school capacity would still have to be a consideration.

The boundary plan does create some initial discrepancy between the two existing elementary schools, both in terms of enrollment and the percentage of students qualifying for free and reduced lunch. But that should even out over time, said Shannon Pelland, chief finance officer for the district.

Another boundary option would have better balanced the Glenwood elementary and middle schools, but would have pulled part of West Glenwood into the Sopris Elementary attendance area, resulting in longer bus rides or parent drives to get kids to school. Students in the Red Mountain neighborhood would also have gone to GSES, instead of Sopris, under that plan.

School board members decided unanimously to go with the plan that will keep things the same as they are for families living within Glenwood city limits.

“This causes the least disruption as we prepare to open a new school, and sends a comforting message to families that are having to make decisions,” board President Mary Elizabeth Geiger said.

The decision also came following a series of community meetings where parents, teachers and others expressed support for minimizing boundary changes.

The district intends to open the new Eastbank school with roughly 360 students between the elementary and middle school sections. Glenwood Springs Middle School, which serves grades 6-8, is expected to drop from 539 students currently to roughly 415 students after the new school opens.

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